Special Edition: Charleston Shooting
Joining neighbors, serving boldly, loving all, through Christ.
The South Carolina Lutheran eNews
Shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston
People concerned about relatives seek information from police nearby the scene of a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Photo: Reuters
A pastoral message from Bishop Herman Yoos of the South Carolina Synod of the ELCA
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last night, the Body of Christ in South Carolina received the devastating news that nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ were martyred during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC. Among those who were killed was their pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Rev. Pinckney was a state senator in SC, but more importantly to us, he was an alumnus of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary where he received his Masters of Divinity.
Rev. Pinckney was a friend and classmate to many of our pastors in the SC Synod of the ELCA, and this comes as a shock to all of us because he is beloved by all who knew him. This is a deeply personal loss for us not only because so many of us were friends and partners in ministry with this child of God, but also because as the body of Christ, we stand in solidarity in the name of Jesus with our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer.
In 1st Corinthians 12 Paul writes that when one member of the body of Christ suffers the whole body suffers as well. These are the words that came to my mind this morning when I heard about the shooting in Charleston of nine brothers and sisters in Christ at Emmanuel AME Church who were studying God's Word together last night.
To see this tragic loss against the backdrop of the recent shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston by a white police officer, we cannot help but recognize that as citizens of South Carolina we continue to struggle with serious issues related to racial injustice.
Recently I wrote an article about the need for a new conversation about racial relations in our society. Our ELCA presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton also encouraged all Lutherans to be engaged in such honest conversations around the racial injustices that permeate our society. It is because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can bear one another's burdens and be instruments of reconciliation.
ELCA leader continues call for racial equity
This tragedy also brings with it the need to pray for the families of those who were killed, to pray for the congregation of Emmanuel AME Church, to pray for the Charleston community our state and nation.
In psalm 130 we read "out of the depths do we cry unto you O Lord Our God hear our prayer." It is out of the depth of our human sinfulness that we look not to ourselves for answers but to our crucified Lord Jesus and his outstretched arms of mercy and forgiveness.
May we share in this time of mourning and grief for our brothers and sisters in Christ and share in their suffering for the sake of the whole body of Christ.
All this and more we pray in the name of Jesus.
The Rev. Herman R. Yoos
Bishop of the South Carolina Synod, ELCA
What Can You Do?:
Let us pray:
God, our refuge and strength, you have bound us together in a common life. In all our conflicts, help us to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, to listen for your voice amid competing claims, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect.
Where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams.
We lift to you all those who suffered harm and for the nine lost loved ones at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Additional Prayers page 76.)
The Lutheran Church of the Redeeemer, Charleston will be holding a prayer vigil this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Please consider joining this special service as your are able. For more informaiton call Sherry Fowler at 843-795-4855.
The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is located at:
714 Riverdale Dr
Charleston, SC 29407
Christ Mission, Columbia will be holding a prayer vigil tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Please consider joining this special service as you are able. For more information call Pastor Leroy Cannon at 803-413-7932.
Christ Mission, Columbia is located at:
1323 Winyah Drive
Columbia, SC 29203
One who sings prays twice. We offer Hymn 422 from the LBW O God, Empower Us verses one and two.
O God, empower us to stem
the hatreds that divide.
Enable us to bring an end
to ghastly wars of pride.
Let our example point the way,
that feuds be not prolonged.
Let us forgive, as you forgave,
when we have suffered wrong.
When neighbors feel distress, or grieve,
or sickness takes it toll,
enable us to feel their pain,
the better to console.
And when the neighbor's path is dark
and heavy with despair,
help us to lift the gospel's light
and show the Father's care.
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